Thursday, July 02, 2009

Is it time to get rid of textbooks?

There was a time, before the invention of electronic media, and before the internet became a robust source of information on just about everything, when educators had no choice but to rely upon textbooks as the sole source of information.

Would it not be far more efficient and effective, if we stopped relying upon textbooks as the sole reference source in education, and instead, moved into the new information age, and started taking advantage of information gathering that is not dependent upon the availability of textbooks, or even upon the ability to read?

It would be far, far cheaper in the long run to put one computer in front of every student, including a computer for their home if need be, than providing a hundred different textbooks over the course of their education, that require replacement every few years.

FYI, the APS spend approximately $5M every year on textbooks.


Anonymous said...

Although there are various licensing fees and policies, textbooks can be made online w/ class or individual student access codes. I know many programs at UNM that have this feature.
Another option is to buy a book display unit like the Kindle (about $350), then download the textbook (about $9-15) to it.
In either event, group sales discounts could be made, and textbooks could be done away with, and the resulting fees would be cheaper. Additionally, when a student leaves the district or school, the e-books and related accounts would be, in many cases, transferable.
There is NO REASON why we don't do it. It's a win-win for students, teachers, inventory and budgeting.
thanks for bringing the topic up.

Anonymous said...

I used to believe strongly that every student should have a textbook to take home with them.
Then I saw how students destroyed those texts, then their parents weaseled out of paying for them.
E-books would be a fair compromise!